Now that I had the boat and was single as a result of moving aboard, it was time to find someone. Girls no longer thought this was a pipe dream but instead it was a reality that they could not ignore.
I found online dating to be an excellent social experiment testing ground. My profile would read that "I live aboard a sailboat in the city"; not to many girls would message me. Then I would alter my description to: "I keep my yacht in the city". The spike in messages I would receive was quite notable.
Some girls would figure out that I lived on the boat rather quickly, others remained in denial even after I explained everything. In the end, they all went away when they realized that I live here and this is my floating home.
One girl was a realtor and was hell bent on getting me in a house. Was she ever barking up the wrong tree!
My plan was to live on the hook, so appliances and amenities were kept to a minimum. This didn't help my case in proving that this boat was a home and not a floating camp site. I had a few lights, no refrigeration, no air conditioning, and manual water pressure.
Eventually, I got tired of the social experiment and took the boat part out of the profile completely. I just listed sailing as one of my hobbies and left it at that. I would go on regular dates with these girls, which usually ended back at the boat. They would think that this was a fancy toy of mine, imagining an entire world filled with other such toys and a huge house on land. Then the stark reality would hit them when they realized that this was it and there was no giant house in the country and we would go on our separate ways.
When I met Maddie, she asked where I lived on our first date. I really liked her and was tired of wasting time dating someone who would leave when they found out I lived in a boat, so I told her up front at the beginning of our first date. She didn't run away! She thought I was joking at first, and was not able to wrap her head around the concept for some time, but after visiting the boat, she came to with reality.
I asked her to move in with me on the second date, which was 12 hours after the first date (when you know, you know), and she agreed on a few conditions:
I needed to have running water that does not require a foot pump or hand pump.
I need to have a comfortable mattress.
I need to have air conditioning.
I need to have refrigeration.
I quickly installed these requirements and she moved in! There was a lot of adjusting for her, coming from a three story house with a basement to a 45 foot boat with an 11 foot beam. She kept herself content by thinking this was only temporary and in less than a year I will be on land in a house with her. We had a discussion about our future and I made it perfectly clear that I was not going to live on land. After about a year living on the boat, she began to consider it home as well.
We are now married and she loves cruising as much as I do. When we started dating, she had never been on a sailboat. After taking a month long sail down the bay and out into the ocean, she had accepted the shortcomings of boat life because of the freedom to travel and explore that you get in exchange!
On a side note, get a cute dog! They will transform you from "that weird guy who lives on a boat" to "that guy with a cute dog".